Pentecost People

by | May 29, 2023

[Jesus said,] “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8

I know I’ve mentioned before that we seem to be living in fluid times, with old friends and new friends coming and going in the life of our presbytery. Just as the winds of the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost Day—and continue to flow among us today—we also see people on the move.

So, for instance, we welcome Amy Marmol to the Presbytery staff, as our temporary Administrator. Amy is a French teacher, but thanks to technology and her extraordinary organizing skills, we are hoping that Amy will be able to serve as Presbytery Administrator for this summer, and longer. Amy will be putting together the Monday Morning Update (this edition is her first already!); she will support meetings of the Presbytery, Executive Commission, COM, and CPM; and maintain the records and reporting work for the Stated Clerk’s office. Because Amy is so part-time (on average 10 hours/week), office coverage will be shared by Sam, Amy, and myself, and Sam will cover the office phone. Amy and her husband Joshua are members of Knox Presbyterian; Joshua was our Ruling Elder Commissioner at last year’s General Assembly. Please welcome Amy!

With Amy’s help, the Executive Commission appointed me as temporary Stated Clerk for Administration, so I will manage most of the clerk responsibilities, such as helping to put the presbytery packets together and facilitating communication between councils of the Church (ie, with the Office of the General Assembly, Synod, and sessions). This is a return to my days as Stated Clerk for Pacific Presbytery; I have always said that I’m a “clerky” executive! You’ll notice that we have posted the position description for Stated Clerk for Administration, so if you know someone who might be interested, please let me know. Steve Salyards continues as Stated Clerk for Judicial Process; this division of labor is proving to be extremely useful. Several presbyteries whose staff leader holds both clerk and executive roles have asked me about this, so that the “hybrid” leader (we used to call them “slashers”—ie, EP/Clerk) has some separation from judicial cases. We were inspired for this by New Covenant Presbytery in Texas, who implemented a similar structure first.

You can reach us at the following email addresses:

  • general information, articles for the MMU, and messages for Amy Marmol, Presbytery Administrator, for now (we will get a new address for her soon); Amy, Sam, and I all check this inbox
  • communications from sessions or any requests or information for the Stated Clerk for Administration; I will check this inbox
  • communications related to judicial cases; Steve Salyards uses this address. Steve only works for the presbytery as needed—and my goal is that he does minimal work for us! So far, so good.
  • email address for Sam Bang, Associate Executive Presbyter (75%-time). Sam manages all financial and business issues for the presbytery; acts as staff support for A&F, EEE, and Eagle Rock AC; and helps with new worshiping communities and some ministry development work.
  • email address for Wendy Gist, mission advocate and Immigration Accompaniment Organizer. Please note that Wendy G’s address is a Gmail account.
  • email address for me, Wendy And if you want to reach one of our three chaplains Diane Frasher, Harlan Redmond, or Rob Crowell, let me know.

Though people continue to discern new calls, as long as they stay within the PC(USA), there’s a chance we’ll see each other again. This month I’ve been largely focused on the national church, having attended a Board of Pensions consultation in Denver with Pat Martinez-Miller, helped to train new executive presbyters in Baltimore, and met the visiting national staff last week. The visit was organized by Diane Givens Moffett, the President

and Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). The main event was a listening session, with leaders from each presbytery meeting and staff leaders from PMA, Office of the General Assembly (OGA), Presbyterian Foundation, and Board of Pensions. Brian got a picture of the San Gabriel contingent with Diane; Sam Bang was also there but did not make it in the picture.

I know the PMA folks from when I was on the PMA Board (fun fact: Bong Bringas and I were both on the committee that nominated Diane Moffett to lead the PMA!), and the OGA folks partly from when I was a Stated Clerk. We received special attention from OGA. Last Sunday, Jihyun Oh preached at Knox and Interwoven, and on Wednesday, Kerry Rice and Tricia Dykers-Koenig visited with Peter Tan-Gatue (Praise, Covina), Pipi Dhali (GKI-LA), Amy Mendez (West Covina Fellowship), Margarita Reyes (Puente de Esperanza), and several folks at Claremont Presbyterian. They were so impressed with the ministries of this presbytery!

We know that the Holy Spirit moves in all sorts of unpredictable, life-giving ways, and causes people of faith to go where God wills, which may make for some unpredictable ministry moves. While we miss Ally already, we are confident that we are yet joined in the Spirit, and trust that our paths will converge again. In the meantime, we are grateful for Amy and for others who have joined us for this leg of the journey. And, as always, we ask for gentleness and patience as we all adjust to this new way of riding with the Spirit.